What is Spoon River?
I used to watch the Spoon River meander down its channel of murky muddy water from the time I could walk. Spoon River is a calm river and lives up to its reputation in what we could call the antique book of poems “Spoon River Anthologies” by Edgar Lee Masters. While the characters from Masters’ book are long gone, travel along the Spoon River and you will be able to envision some of these people living there in the shadows of the elm or the walnut just waiting to have a conversation with you.
Spoon River plays host to many critters and birds. It was originally named, Amaquonsippi, after the Amaquon, which means mussel or shell in Algonquin language. The mussel and shell was used like a spoon or an eating utensil. Sippi means river; thus Spoon River. What a joy to walk in the bottoms along the river and find an old clam shell now almost extinct.
Spoon River was never meant to be underestimated. The power it has to devour earthen banks, move hard wood trees complete with root systems and all, and flatten crops when flooding is to be respected. Spoon River has a mind of its own and uses it wisely and foolishly.
The Spoon River is a 147-mile-long (237 km) tributary of the Illinois River in west-central Illinois in the United States. The river drains largely agricultural prairie country between Peoria and Galesburg. The river is noted for giving its name to the fictional Illinois town in the 1916 poetry work Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters, who was from Lewistown, which is near the river.
The river rises in two short forks, the West Fork near Kewanee in southern Henry County, and the East Fork in Neponset Township in southwest Bureau County. The East and West forks join in northern Stark County, approximately 10 miles (16 km) southeast of Kewanee, and the combined stream meanders south and southwest through rural Stark, Knox and Fulton counties. The lower portion of the river passes through a scenic region of hills in Fulton County, and passes approximately 5 miles (8 km) southwest of Lewistown. The river joins the Illinois from the west opposite Havana, approximately 40 miles (64 km) downstream and southwest of Peoria.